DAILY CURRENT EVENTS CIVILS360
October 2, 2017
Fewer GST slabs possible after rise in revenue: Jaitley
- Bigger reforms such as lower number of slabs under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime can be considered once there is revenue buoyancy, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said.
- At present, GST slabs have rates of 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%.
- The Minister said, “In a society which did not conventionally mind being a non-tax complaint one, people are realising the virtues of compliance which comes with the passage of time. This is the reason for tax integration. Once this change is established, we will have scope and space for improvement. And once we become revenue neutral, we [will] need to think of better reforms.” India is going through indirect taxation at a time when the economy is growing, he said, adding that direct tax is paid by the more affluent sections, while indirect tax is a burden on all.
No more reservation charts
- The Railways, as part of a Go Green policy, has decided to stop pasting reservation charts on train coaches. It will be implemented on a trial basis for three months.
- A senior official of the Chennai division of Southern Railway, said the initiative was a pilot project to keep the coaches neat and clean and to do away with defacing them with materials such as paste.The official further said that the measure would also save paper. The trial would be implemented in five cities — Chennai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Bengaluru.
- T. Sadagopan, a consumer activist from Pattabhiram, said that the plan to stop pasting reservation charts would create confusion, especially among senior citizens who may not be tech-savvy. Though the passengers are receiving SMS about the ticket details, the chart is still necessary, he added.
New scheme to retrieve stolen mobile phones
- A new initiative by the Kerala Police could offer citizens a better chance to retrieve their stolen or lost mobile phones. It might also give the law enforcement a much-required leg up to track tampered cell phones used for criminal purposes.IG Manoj Abraham, nodal officer, Kerala Police Cyberdome, who heads the project, told The Hindu that missing gadgets could not always be traced by merely tracking their unique International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number.
- IMEI numbers could be, with adequate expertise and required software tools, erased, cloned or spoofed with hoax codes.Such tampered cell phones posed a formidable hurdle to crime investigations and security operations. So did the massive influx of cheap mobile phones with no unique identification code or the same IMEI number.
- The State police have adopted an unorthodox method to address the issue. They learned that the largely unaudited second-hand mobile phone vendors and their set of talented young technicians were responsible for the rampant cloning of IMEI codes that made retrieval of missing gadgets difficult.The technicians, a limited number of them at that, worked secretly from their homes and transacted business only through proxies.They were primarily responsible for giving a new makeover to stolen devices by manipulating their IMEI codes so the mobile phones could be resold in the open market with impunity.
- Cyberdome investigators contacted the vendors and the young experts and convinced them to register themselves with a secure police portal. The website carries the IMEI numbers of missing or “wanted” mobile phones. The police required the vendors to inform them if a phone with a wanted IMEI code turned up at their service centre. Around 500 service centres have registered so far. So have several mobile network providers.
- They have together helped the police run to ground scores of missing devices. At a stroke, the police appeared to have turned several mobile technicians, who mostly operated outside the law, into their assets in the fight against crime.
Banks asked to enable core banking in Hindi
- The Home Ministry has asked all banks, private and public sector, to enable their core banking facility in Hindi.
- He said that as per the Official Languages Act, 1963 there was no provision of punitive action for not using Hindi in official communication but the language could only be promoted through “persuasion and encouragement.”
- The Home Ministry issued an advisory to all States and government departments to implement the recommendations.A Home Ministry official said the recommendations were not mandatory. In August, President Ram Nath Kovind accepted the remaining recommendations which include “financial services in Hindi.”Mr. Jha said though States were free to choose their language, Hindi-speaking States should also learn other regional languages like Tamil.
- Mr. Jha said Hindi was used on signboards in Bangalore Metro as it came under the Central Act and was in consonance with the three-language policy of the Centre. He said a mobile app Lila that would help people learn Hindi has already been launched. “The app has a dictionary with over four lakh words. We are promoting popular words of Hindi. For example, demonetisation is popularly known as notebandi. We are trying to incorporate this in our dictionary,” said Mr. Jha.
Yamuna in distress after immersions
- The government agencies in the Capital have failed the Yamuna yet again with tonnes of toxic and non-biodegradable waste choking the river post Durga idol immersions on Saturday and Sunday.The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had issued a strict order in September on the state of the river banks after the Ganesh idol immersions across the city. However, almost over two weeks after Ganesh Chaturthi, no visible change was seen at the ghats .
- On the banks of south Delhi’s Kalindi Kunj ghat and north Delhi’s Nigam Bodh ghat , partially submerged idols of Durga, most of them made of Plaster of Paris (POP) were found on Sunday. The river also saw a sea of floating plastic bags with glass bangles, flower petals and other decorations made of metal and plastic.
- The NGT had in 2015 put a complete ban on the use of POP and paints with high levels of lead in idols, which are known to cause serious damage to the soil and water of the ecologically-sensitive area.
- Guidelines issued by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in 2010 and by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) have largely gone unheeded.
- He had made a special appeal before the court that a detailed action plan be filed by agencies — Delhi Development Authority, Delhi Jal Board, the three civic bodies (east, south and north) and the Delhi government —on how they will tackle the high influx of devotees into the ghat and check the pollution.
China ignores a yearly practice
- India and China may have made peace after the Doklam crisis at the BRICS summit, but suspicions still linger on the ground. China has not invited India for the ceremonial Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to commemorate its National Day on October 1.
- Ceremonial BPMs are held on National Days and, usually, the process of inviting and confirming is carried out a couple of days in advance. It is seen as an opportunity for each side to showcase its traditions and cultural diversity to the other.
- There are five BPM points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at Bum La and Kibithu in Arunachal Pradesh, Daulat Beg Oldi and Chushul in Ladakh, and Nathu La in Sikkim.
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